My 12-year old son came home with a letter from the school announcing a new pilot program. In the program, parents would be able to log-in to a special account, at any time, and see their child’s status, up-to-the-day grades, late assignments, and even more. Now, for a moment of kvelling: my son is a great student, usually pulling off a 90 to 95 average. But a good student needs to be challenged, too, to reach beyond what comes easily. So, like someone trying to get a Grateful Dead concert ticket, I was in the school office the next morning to be on the list.
A couple of weeks later, they launched the program. If this is the way the system is to become, it’s awesome. I’ve always had a beef with the way that we would find out about a problem once the report card came home – much too late to actually intervene and disrupt less-than-positive behavior. And for the first couple of weeks, I was checking out my son’s grades and assignments every evening.
Unfortunately, the teachers weren’t keeping up. They had warned us that this might happen – that the system was experimental, and that teachers were needing to figure it all out as well. But the problem was, I had less incentive to check it out daily. So I logged-in every few days – then every week, then every few weeks. Eventually, the promise of the new system diminished – becoming only a bit more effective than the old paper report card system.
I’d always known this to be the case with fresh content and websites. But I’ve never been a bona fide guinea pig, and felt the natural forces at work. Fresh content is a MUST. We should, perhaps, even make it one of our top priorities with our web sites, tasking someone to make sure it happens. Somewhere, sometime, someone once suggested that all businesses are going to become content generators. I thought at the time it was a bit pat. But now, I’m a convert. We must keep it fresh.
Disclaimer: In case I didn’t make it clear, I’m not knocking the teachers at my son’s school… Obviously, they are still working out how the system is going to fit in with their challenging jobs. School teachers are, in my opinion, heroes in our society.